The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council met at Binghamton University to discuss the status of the region’s economy.
Among the topics on the agenda was the growth in tourism.
In 2017, the Southern Tier generated $965 million in tourism spending, up 11.1 percent from 2011.
Perhaps the biggest topic was the need for workforce development programs due to the abundance of unfilled job openings.
County Executive Jason Garnar says Broome has its lowest unemployment rate since 2001.
The Governor’s Director of Workforce Development Madhuri Kommareddi says the lack of qualified applicants is limiting economic growth.
“As many of you know, in many parts of the state we have historically low unemployment rates for the current times we’re in. What that means is we have a lot of job openings but we don’t necessarily have the skilled workers to meet those openings. Which is in turn cause a constraint on our economic growth.”
Kommareddi went on to discuss the $175 million being invested in workforce development from sources such as SUNY, the Department of Labor, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
The funding will be directed toward projects that support the regional workforce development strategy, serve populations with barriers to career advancement and improve the flexibility of workforce systems to address industry needs.